Daniel Roth
September 03, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Donald Trump is not, as you may have heard, going bankrupt. It?s just that the company that saved him from going bankrupt is. Confused? It takes more than a Harvard B-school degree (paging Kwame!) to untangle Trump?s financials, but here?s the 411 on the sinking of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. In the early 1990s, Trump had nearly $1 billion in personal debt fueled by overspending on his empire of glitz (everything from hotels to a USFL team) and the recession. Working with the banks, he crafted deals to, in essence, shift his debt to his casinos in Atlantic City. In 1995 he took those casinos public, effectively passing on to shareholders a debt that has now ballooned to $1.8 billion. Trump, though CEO, cleared the creditors from his back. Today, the Trump Taj Mahal and its downtrodden sister casinos are attempting a comeback plan, which Trump says is so incredible it will ”make the show even hotter.” The Donald?s shrinking stake in the casinos is worth about $5 million — a number he insists is a tiny percentage of his few-billion-dollar net worth (though ex-associates say, as usual, Trump is overstating the figure). Either way, he lives his life like a bazillionaire — and that?s all ”Apprentice” fans care about.

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